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DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a junior in college, and I’m struggling with feelings of jealousy toward my friend. It seems like everything comes so easily to her, and it’s hard for me not to compare our paths.
Recently, my friend received a $10,000 scholarship for a study abroad program in Japan and landed an internship at one of the top investment banking firms in the United States. She applied to only one internship and only one scholarship, and things fell into place effortlessly. It’s as if a fairy comes in every night while she’s sleeping and throws magic pixie dust at her to make everything work out. Meanwhile, I feel like I have to fight tooth and nail just to make half as much progress. Every day is a continuous struggle to accomplish the goals that I have. I try hard to be positive, but obstacles pop up constantly. How can I deal with these feelings of envy and move forward with a more upbeat outlook on life? — Jealous
DEAR JEALOUS: It is understandable that you would be envious of your friend for what appears to be an easy life. As you also know, it is toxic to dwell on what other people have. No good will come out of that longing. Instead, you must focus on yourself. Do your best to view your life as your perfect challenge. You are gaining resilience as you live through each experience. Claim your small victories.
To keep on track, create a vision board. Look through magazines and newspapers for images that reflect the things you want for your life. Cut them out. Brainstorm words and ideas that represent your dreams. Write them down. Next, on a large piece of cardboard or paper, place the images and words together. Make a simple art piece out of this collection of ideas to create your vision board. Write affirmations reminding yourself that you can and will accomplish your dreams. When thoughts creep in about your friend’s success — or anyone else’s — wish them well and pivot back to planning your own life.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Ever since she got married in April, my mother has become more vocal and assertive. Unfortunately, this has led to a conflict between her and my wife, as my mother has certain expectations of her. She strongly believes in traditional wifely duties and expects my wife to fulfill them. This puts me in a difficult position because I love and respect both my wife and my mother. How can I make them both happy? — Overbearing Mom
DEAR OVERBEARING MOM: Sit down with your mom and tell her you need to have a heart-to-heart talk with her. Congratulate her on her new marriage. Emphasize how happy you are for her new bond of love. Then point out that everyone does marriage differently. Her marriage is not the same as yours. Tell her you need her to stop trying to run your life by giving your wife her advice about how to be married to you. Gently but clearly let her know that your marriage is off limits. When she continues to offer it, she is upsetting your household. Point out that you know she has certain beliefs about roles and responsibilities in a marriage. Invite her to follow those in her own relationship, but ask her firmly to stop trying to enforce them in yours.